There is no denying that mum life can be tiring, stressful and, most definitely, relentless. It is 24/7 in the true sense.
I recall one evening I was sitting – absolutely exhausted – breastfeeding my 3rd baby.
I pondered why I was constantly tired… Seems pretty obvious now, but at that moment it was an absolute epiphany. This mum gig really was 24/7. I was busy running after my toddlers by day and resettling and feeding my baby by night.
I think I was so exhausted and tired all of the time that I couldn’t even think straight, let alone have a decent conversation with another human being!
Not only was I absolutely exhausted, I was also really stressed. Trying to look after 3 little boys under the age of 4½ years meant that everyone wanted a piece of me, 24/7. Life was a relentless cycle of feed times, nap times, tantrums, nappies and washing with little rest or sleep.
Looking back on it now, those times were really tough, and my expectations of myself were waaay too high!
If this story sounds familiar to you in any way, it’s important to do your best to take care of your tired, stressed self.
Here are my top tips on how to take care of yourself as a mum:
1. Get outdoors
Getting outdoors into the fresh air and sunshine can help in so many ways. The outdoors is calming for both parents and children. If you can’t leave the house, head out into the backyard or on the balcony.
Sounds simple right? So many of us are shallow breathing and not getting the full benefits of each breath we take. The action of taking deep breaths has been proven to reduce stress levels, decrease heart rate, increase energy levels and decrease anxiety. The next time you find yourself all up in your head, take a moment to take a few big breaths right down into your belly. There are also many apps available to help with this.
3. Move your body
Of course this is on the list! When I say move your body, I don’t mean hitting a super-hard high-intensity session every day. Listening to your body and doing an appropriate workout for you is what you need to do. Some days this might be a strength workout, other days it might be an easy walk with the kids or the dog. If you are rebuilding your strength postpartum or after a long period without exercise, make sure your program is appropriate for you and balanced across the week.
4. Talk to a friend
A good old chat to a trusted friend or family member can really help! Sharing your day’s wins and woes with someone is a good way of getting it out and it helps you to both know that you are not alone. There will be days when you need them, and other days when they need you. Friends help friends through #mumlife.
5. Ask for help
As the saying goes, it takes a village to raise a child. Don’t be too proud to ask or accept help when it is offered. Give yourself a break mumma, you really don’t need to do it all.
6. Don’t sweat the small stuff
Sometimes we put so many expectations on ourselves as mums: to create the perfect home and meals; provide all of the expected experiences for our kids; to keep the house tidy as it was pre-children; cook everything from scratch and take our children to every activity available – because that’s what good mums do, hey?
I used to be there too. The truth is though, children need a lot less than we think they do. To be honest, who really cares if the washing pile is huge and the floor has a few crumbs on it, or your kid is wearing odd socks!
Don’t let this stuff get you down. The most important thing is that your kids are fed, safe and happy. They don’t care about the rest, and neither should your friends and family.
7. Nourish your body and mind through healthy eating
It is no secret that healthy eating can help with so many things including clarity of thought, energy and gut health. So ditch the sugary treats and opt for whole foods, fruit and veggies.
Drinking adequate water can help with this, as dehydration leads to cravings and can have you snacking on high-energy snacks that will have you feeling low in energy and mood later.
Have a fridge, pantry and handbag full of healthy snacks and a water bottle by your side. Eat regularly throughout the day and don’t let your fuel tank run low. I promise it will help with your energy levels.
You’ve got this mumma! Be kind to yourself.
Rachel Leman is the Owner/Operator of Miss Motivator in Port Macquarie, NSW. To find out more about her and get in touch, click here.
You can also find her on Instagram.